Saturday, February 16, 2008

This is a long one; if you feel like skipping it there's more exciting new stuff below it.


Hans looks better with half a head, the fat fuck,
Blown up in a ditch, now it’s a ditch,
Once it was a field,
Poor Hans, only one eye gazing now,
The other reduced to atoms flying,
Along with half his head, and bits of me,
To fertilize the soil of the Ukraine.

Yuki, do you think that we
Gave them any pause at all,
With our Banzai! bits and bravura charges?
Before, that is, they blew us all to shit,
And were they at all impressed,
That we could take such heavy losses,
And keep fighting, from our cave redoubts?
Before, that is, they poured in the gasoline,
And set us all on fire.
Were they impressed at all with our courageous screams?

But fire, only fire claimed my life,
I never saw or heard an explosion,
But fire, fire came to me,
And chased me from my house into,
More fire! and even then some more!
Fire everywhere! The river was on fire!
And oh! so hot, and nowhere to go!
The fire blazed me to infinity, in Dresden, Tokyo and elsewhere.

I walked so calmly to a square,
Was given something new to wear,
Was taken then to waiting trains,
Uncomfortable, but thinking then again,
It would not be so very long,
They needed me, I was so strong,
My labor they would wish to use,
And I understood, after all that travel
We would need a cleansing shower,
Oh! What a cruel surprise,
The cries of the mothers, and the children, especially.

It seems like there’s a rhythm to,
A terrible rhythm to dying
Of hunger, you can see it coming,
Feel it rising from your feet,
Feel yourself getting weaker, losing interest,
What an unreal feeling, for so long
I took for granted all of that food,
All of that glorious food, so delicious,
Now it is a dream of avarice,
But at least I’m not alone,
It’s nice to have company when you die.

Where is this place?
I remember flying, very strange,
Water! I’m in the water!
There’s the ship, so close, pulling away,
If only I could move, I can’t move!
Dark again, there was a flash,
And noise, it’s all so quiet now,
Swimming, I should be swimming,
But I can’t move.

Whose was the fucking bright idea,
To put men into fragile boats
And send them half-assed underwater,
As though we would be safe, our watery briar patch,
It took them no time at all to find us,
We show up clearly now on screens,
No protection from the charges,
Boy, you should get a load of those,
Should feel them, getting closer,
And finally, just water.

Once we were all spit and polish,
We carried our ration of rifle rounds, not too many,
No desire to promote profligate shooting at nothing,
Our uniforms were just that: uniform,
No camouflage, all Field Green, good boots, and we ate three times a day,
We had our Mausers, and an MG-34 for every ten or twelve men,
Some storm groups, with Schmeissers, we all got coffee,
By the end we all wore something different,
Some had beards, most had two weapons,
Lots of camo, cheap boots, no more coffee,
Captured weapons, we liked the PPSh-40’s,
With the seventy round magazines,
We had the new, cheaper, MG-42’s, one to every two or three of us,
They sure came in handy, so many people to kill, month after month,
Everyone wore MG ammo belts around their necks,
Giant satchels of all the grenades we could find,
Schmeissers and back up Schmeissers from dead friends,
In case of jams, just throw the first one away,
No more mail, little food but what we could steal,
Amazing, really, that we could go on at all, year after year,
And now they tell us to forget!

All the training, and I worked
So very hard, and for so long,
I studied so, and passed my tests,
And finally my chance arrived,
I got my wish, my dream assignment,
Flyin’ Lightnings, chasin’ Japs,
I never saw one though, and now
It looks as though I never will,
My gas gauge now is down to fumes,
I lost my flight some time ago,
And now only the blue Pacific, aptly named,
It’s so pacific, and so blue,
And beautiful, the last thing that I’ll ever see,
Most likely.

General Winter,
Nothing to burn, nowhere to hide,
Aren’t our Generals supposed to plan for these things?
The hobnails in our boots just make it worse.

Men dig shallow foxholes in the beginning of a war,
It’s human nature, digging is hard work,
As the war progresses, the holes get deeper until,
If possible, and time permitting, they’re eight feet deep,
With a niche cut in the bottom,
To hide in, hide from shrapnel flying straight down.

We left our jump off points, just before dawn,
We killed some guys easy, moved ahead, made a checkpoint,
Sun now up, we walked with the tanks, taking increasing fire,
Then, caught in the open, they let loose on us, us and the tanks,
The tanks got picked off by twos, and we fared even worse,
Our only cover, burning tanks and shell holes,
A thousand tubes and we were zeroed,
It was quite a mess, I could have told you,
Had I lived.

It sounds so simple, “take the hill,”
Cover fire, suppression fire, artillery preparation,
Company advance in skirmish lines,
Fire and maneuver, textbook stuff,
Taking fire, though, not the hill, pinned down now,
Nambu’s, mortars, company MG’s,
Field guns, where are they hiding field guns?
Retire, regroup, not retreat, try again,
Leave no one behind, maybe just a little while,
They’re dead anyway.

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